I want to level with everyone. I try to be open minded. When I look at games that I am going to review, I try to pick games that I have an interest in the topic. What good does it do if I pick a game I know I’m going to hate, just to say I don’t enjoy this game. Well, folks, I decided to step out of my comfort zone, for better or for worst. It has taken me a couple weeks to find the words to adequately describe my feelings for this title, so I hope they come through crystal clear. Put on your helmets, and put on your training wheels. It’s time to saddle up.
One genre that I have always enjoyed but have never played enough of is racing. I saw Tour de France and thought “This could be a lot of fun. I enjoy racing and it can’t be that different.” That’s right, Doug. It COULD be a lot of fun. We all see the exciting finishes of the Tour de France on our 6 o’clock news channels sports wrap up. Do you know they don’t show you? A minimum of TWENTY. MINUTES. of the racers saving their energy and managing their stamina.
What waits on the other end of those minutes of staring at the backs of bikers? Pretty much a minute long sprint where you just pray you played safe the rest of the race and can keep up. That is my experience with this game. Except apparently I didn’t manage it well enough, since I was at the head of the pellaton (group of bikers. I learned that during this playthrough) the entirety of the race, only to drop to 191st in the last minute. That’s right. On the easiest difficulty I fell 190 places.
Now I am willing to acknowledge my lack of knowledge and familiarity of the sport. I truly do. However, I have done this with other sportsing games: MLB, FIFA, NBA, etc. On the easiest difficulty, I felt like I was learning. This? The only thing I learned was to have a chance, I had to play even more of a boring game than I played. Imagine staring at a biker, and the same repeated assets for a minimum of twenty minutes; Where all you can hear is the one or two people that are on the side of the road (that are 5 repeated characters, honestly) yelling “WOO” or some foreign phrase that I am sure translates to roughly the same sentiment; No music, no background ambient noises, just the random yell, and the peddling of the bikes.
Tour de France does have couch co-op and versus modes, which really surprises me. Either you and a friend can ride on the same team or compete in a heart pounding thirty minute marathon that ends in a sprint where one of you will ultimately end towards the end and the other does adequately. Yeah, I am speaking from experience on this one folks.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out roughly what this review is going to score the game. The only thing I can think of doing is listing what the game did well, then rattle off my problems. The only problem is, I had no actual redeeming quality stand out to me, other than the ability to make me and a friend laugh hysterically at how awful this experience was.
What I can appreciate is that there is actually an in-depth simulation mode where you can control each member of your cycling team, whether manually or by shouting commands. I can appreciate it, but honestly there was so much information that it overwhelmed me. With that being said, that is good in a way. If you are extremely intrigued by the actual Tour de France, you will love that. You can not just lead yourself to victory, but your entire team to victory. I am not quite that familiar with biking. I apologize that I cannot add more insight.
Now, moving past my problem, let’s look at the game’s issues. From the beginning of the race, there is a glaring issue. Each and every rider looks identical to the rider beside him. They are the same models, just with a different name and uniform. Let the camera pan around, and there is another problem. This game looks like a late PS2/early Xbox 360 game. No depth to the textures and buildings, no beautiful scenery, no character. Everyone looks flat. At one point, I actually stopped to look at a cow, just to see if it moves. As far as I could tell, no. It was just a non moving 3D cow. Repeated three times. Are you starting to catch my theme? The game is a lot of the same over and over.
Now onto the heart pounding thrill of the race. Where is it? Nowhere to be found. Like I touched on earlier, it is just so slow, dull and boring, it is actually painful to play. My first race, I had to pause three times throughout the 20 minute race just so I could go do something more enjoyable. My next race? It was 50 minutes and I would have quit if I wasn’t recording for a video and with a friend.
It is just awful. One of the most unpleasant experiences I have had with a game. At least with BCFX: Black College Football: The X-perience: The Doug Williams Edition, I can say even though it isn’t good, it is playable. Barely, but playable. I don’t think I can even give this game that title. Combine that with the fact it is a $50 game, and you get a jawdroppingly astounding “WHY WOULD ANYONE BUY THIS?!” from me.
Unless you are a major fan that has a degree in Tour de France-ing, stay away. There is no replayability. Hell, there isn’t even playability for casual players. Most slow games can be therapeutic, but I felt my blood pressure rising because of how mad at myself I was to take this up. Just stay away, no jokes, no clever word play, just don’t do it.